“It’s not about you…” On the value of the liberal arts.

We live in an extremely materialistic, entitled and increasingly self-centered world. Americans often seem too willing to short-circuit their education and the proper development of their minds, sensibilities and morals because they see life simply as a race to the money and to personal glory. 

The author of this article reminds us that the liberal arts should play a central role in the academic experience in order to gain a broad perspective on humanity, a sense of humility, and perhaps the wisdom to live a rich and meaningful life in the pursuit of good.


Yet the secret to the good life, the core value that is at the core of our university’s mission, I tell them, “is to help you realize, deep in your hearts, that it is not all about you. This experience is all about you realizing that it’s not all about you.

The Quality education is the nurturing and development of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, wisdom, ethical sensibility, and judgment. Quality education mediates between what’s in the books and what’s on the streets, between cosmic theory and common sense. Quality education instills the humility and grace to know that you don’t know it all.

More than ever, the world needs students educated in the liberal tradition. A liberal education helps the student to transcend generations. As T.S. Eliot wrote: “It is in fact part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”

A liberal education helps the student navigate a world of religious, political, and cultural diversity, a world that seems to spin ever faster and faster on its axis, accelerated by changes in science and technology that seem to move at the speed of light.

The “liberal” in liberal education is not about politics, but rather mind and soul, a broad-based exposure to a multiplicity of academic disciplines, an emphasis on open-minded critical inquiry and creative problem-solving, an understanding that there is nobility in approaching education not as the filling of a résumé but the fulfilling of life.

More here: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/oct/10/ed-smol10-ar-551645/

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